Brakanbar Keep aka Stormwatch and future ideas for S&P

The Wolf

Mongoose
It was almost dark…

The icy wind blew in fierce angry gusts as it howled across the top of the Great Bor range. It threw snow in dappled white patters across the stone walls of Brakanbar Keep, where the grey had become stained with red.

A fierce battle raged where the foul and loathsome Giaks kept throwing wave after wave of soldiers against the stalwart defence, as if there were no limit to their numbers. All around the shouts and screams of combat rang, punctuated now and then by the unnerving ‘thoom’ of the Dwarven Bor rifles.

A Giak fell to one side, part of its face missing, the still smoking remains cooling rapidly in the slew of snow. Yet still they swarmed the walls, their weapons slashing and hacking as the Dwarves fired another volley.

“Hold the line!” Another great blast and several smaller echoes followed as the next horde of Giak were shredded by shot.

“Is there no end to these damnable things?” Harradar growled as the frost caked on his beard. He began to reload his rifle and slammed the butt of it upon the frozen ground.

The Master Gunner known as Garagold shook his head and hunkered down behind a defence wall. “No Harradar,” he answered with a sigh. “There’s never an end…just a pause in a chapter of our lives.”

A volley of spears sailed overhead and several defenders fell back pierced but still alive; their grunts of pain joined the cacophony of battle.

“I see what you mean,” Harradar set his rifle steady and took aim, felling another Giak with a thunderous crack and whorl of smoke. He notched a small nick into his rifle’s wooden stock and grinned. “I’m three up on you.”

Garagold narrowed his eyes and growled. “This is no competition lad, this is life and death. If we lose this fortress, then there’s little we can do to stem the black tide.”

“Aye,” the other Dwarf began to reload once more, as the Giaks swarmed over the old stone. “Ye’d think they’d have something better to do than to keep throwing themselves at us, adding to the pile of the dead.”

“Wearing us down it is…we’re running low on ammunition and powder.” It was the Master Gunner’s turn to fire his rifle and he winged one Giak, the shot passing clean through the throat of another.

“Two for one,” Harradar growled and his breath blew out in frosty gasps. “Nice one, old man.”

“T’was naught but luck.” The old one kissed his cold knuckles and ducked down behind the wall again. This continued on for the better part of an hour with the seemingly endless howling and screeching creatures determined to drown them with their sheer weight of numbers.

And Garagold had been right; the Giaks were draining their resources and whittling their resolve down, slowly but surely. He estimated they could hold this fort for another hour perhaps two and then they would be overwhelmed.

Another volley of rifle shot and the Giak assault thinned, no more of them streamed through the breach in the west wall. The attack ended as suddenly as it had begun; as the defenders looked at each other in puzzlement – the reason became terribly clear.

A robed figure stepped through the gap in the stones and in a twisted hand it held a long stave-like spear, topped with a curious looking head, around it burned a dark serpent-like flame.

Harradar’s face went pale and he sucked in his cheeks, looking to the Master Gunner. “Helghast!”

Garagold just gave a resigned nod, stalwart to the last and shouldered his rifle, just in time to see the robed figure level the spear towards a group of riflemen at the back of the keep.

There was a wave of black flame and it washed over the defenders in a final caress, licking from one to the other – it left none alive and reduced them to charred husks

“Retreat!” Garagold bellowed and threw himself flat as another burst of dark fire leapt across the keep; it melted the snow and formed a hissing whisper in the cold air.

Harradar was a little too late and his left foot was caught in the searing wave of energy, his boot burst into flame and he let out a scream. This caused Garagold to rise from the ground with an angry look in his eye and he charged the Helghast at full tilt.

From under the creature’s black hood a pair of glowing eyes lit up with amusement, as it levelled the stave for a final time.

The sun dipped below the horizon and Harradar watched as the Helghast and Master Gunner faced off, he knew the conclusion would end badly for his friend. After all this time to fall like this, was unthinkable.

Then the sky above the dark creature lit up with a phosphorescent white light and a pillar of silver flame rained down, it covered the Helghast from head to toe and for a few moments it was wreathed in this arcane fire.

Garagold skidded to a halt and dropped back, his eyes going wide.

There were other noises that joined the hellish scream from the immolated creature, the Giaks outside the walls that had been eagerly observing the massacre of the Dwarves had been set upon by what sounded like a small army.

From that moment forth Garagold’s only concern was for that of his friend and he ignored the burning creature, he ran across the snow and skidded down on his knees by the side of the Gunner. His friend was pale faced and his ankle smoked with a foul black vapour.

A Giak head rolled into the centre of the keep dead eyes staring upwards at the rapidly darkening heavens. A woman in a dark green and gold-trimmed hooded cloak followed it; she kicked the head towards the nearest wall.

“Attend to the Dwarves Jalavan,” she ordered a young man with sandy blonde hair that stood a pace behind her. “I’ve got business with…this.”

“Aye lady Whitemoon,” Jalavan answered and stepped over towards Garagold and his companion. He felt the cold of the snow against his knees as he knelt down by the angry looking Master Gunner.

“What can you do for him?” Garagold asked with hardening eyes.

“I have a few tricks,” Jalavan quipped and smiled in a reassuring manner. “Your friend’s not going to die today.”

Whitemoon circled her prey and as the fire died down the mangled Helghast hissed in recognition towards her, she offered it a measured smile.

“Kai…”

The creature’s dark robe smouldered and its lips widened in a sneer. The Helghast drew a dark blade from its side and lunged at the woman. Whitemoon stepped nimbly to the side and her own sword met the black metal as its bright steel shone with an unearthly glow.

The combat between Kai and Helghast was an equal one, its sword thirsting to taste her blood and she defending and working on an opening. It was like a measured dance of skill versus malice.

Whitemoon struck the creature a telling blow and its smouldering skin ripped apart, dark smoke boiling from the wound. It gave a shrieking hiss and before it could riposte she attacked again and again.

The light in its eyes went out and it collapsed in the snow, a foul reeking stench followed and all that remained was bubbling black ooze, which had once been the robed creature.

Without a backwards glance Whitemoon sheathed her sword and turned to walk over towards the others. She crossed the snow and stood guard over Jalavan as he worked to ease Harradar’s pain. The Gunner had passed into a fitful stupor and his eyes rolled in their sockets, he became delirious and babbled incoherently.

“I’m grateful for this,” Garagold mumbled and looked towards them both. “I fear I have little with which to repay ye.”

“The Kai seek not repayment or thanks.” Whitemoon pushed a lock of her silver hair back under her hood; it kept her face in the dark and shadow.

“Speak for ye’self,” Jalavan quipped. “The cost of these herbs is…well…put it this way. They’re expensive, but I see by the look in your eye.” He trailed off and continued to work quietly on Harradar’s wounds as Whitemoon’s stern gaze passed over him.

The sounds of battle below them were fading now and the screams of the Giaks lessened, the Master Gunner concluded that this was due to the fact – most of them were dead or dying, but kept his thoughts to himself as night finally claimed the keep.


And so when I wrote that I began to poke around my brain, to create a detailed look at the Great Bor Range, mountain fortress known as Brakanbar (Stormwatch) Keep. I love castles and keeps, where I live there's a lovely if somewhat ruined castle not far away from me that has already served as an inspiration for my next foray into Magnamund.

While the article will be aimed at Lone Wolf, it wouldn't take much fiddling to take it and place it say - in any other setting you wanted, so hopefully nearly everyone will find a use for it.

I'm going to attempt to keep it to the same standard of description/detail as Port Bax and add write-ups of the major NPCs

There will be a history of the Keep as well as numerous plot-hooks and other surprises in store. While I don't tend to design/create and write adventures I am sure there'll be some interesting locales beneath Stormwatch for those people that have a love of delving into such dangerous places.

And of course I'll be attempting to get Hellion to furnish me with pictures of any characters, or even a nice overview pic of the Keep itself. She has already said she'd provide the maps to keep to an overall style as presented in Port Bax.

I'm also going to try and give the Dwarven characters somewhat of a unique feel, attempting to re-write the myth that they are only interested in beer and boom powder. I do see them with a love of battle and definitely quite militant, as proved by Al and his stalwart company over at the TotS.

Anyways, these are ideas and as always this won't be the only thing I plan to look at - so if you've missed the original post on Port Bax (how could you!!! *sniffle*) then you can also post ideas in this thread for future works.
 
If we are going to use this thread to talk about Dwarfs, one of my favourite subjects, then I would like to add this, I am not sure that Dwarsf "love" battle, per se, but rather are resigned to a life of battle.

I think a Dwarf would be happier creating something than destroying something, but due to their precarious position in Magnamund, they have to fight.

The end result is the same, but "resignation" gives it a darker, almost gloomier, feel to it than "enjoyment"

Just a thought
Al
 

The Wolf

Mongoose
A very nice thought there Al. Resigned to a life of battle, having to constantly act as overwatchers to the more perilous frontier mountain regions. Yep, that really does strike a chord.

I like that a lot.

I have to admit that I am partial to the darker elements in stories, so this in-of-itself does lend that gloomier, gritty undertone to the whole thing. As I was writing that small piece up there, I was oddly thinking that Garagold would really like to be at home by the fire with a good tome, rather than freezing his beard off under Giak assault.
 

DuskFox

Mongoose
I'd really love to see a take on dwarves that doesn't paint them out to be dinky viking/highlander riflemen, myself. That gets old and tired really fast.

In my campaign, I'm doing my best to establish that dwarves are not humans. It sounds like that should be patently obvious, but it's not--people seem to have an easy time accepting the ancient otherness of elves, but dwarves end up coming off as curmudgeonly old scrappers with little man syndrome. I've been doing small things to set them apart from people, and it starts with the classically-established insular nature of dwarves. I actually ended up writing a short essay about it for my gaming group so that they'd understand why dwarves and humans don't get along, and why humans perceive dwarves as militant and stand-offish. I was going to post it, but realized it was long and not necessarily on-topic.
 

toothill man

Mongoose
ask al to add the essay :D to the dwarf only area of the tower of the sun it would be much read their 8) or if not joined please come aboard as a dwarf :twisted: .also the fact is dwarfs are differant which is why I love both slaine and lone wolf 2 very differant takes but both far from the norm.

in lone wolf their are guilds and some orders that do good but the bor dwarfs are the only good sided milatery power. I can see they have no anicent chants or blue steel weapons but modern tatics and so the giak general dies via sniper fire :wink: with the helgasts throne full of boom powder :wink: .there mercs report straight too bor so their miltary intelligence is second too none knowing of plots before the plotters themselves know.

so lastly LONG LIVE BOR :twisted:
 

DuskFox

Mongoose
toothill man said:
or if not joined please come aboard as a dwarf :twisted:

THM, I know you're hyperrecruiting, but seriously... you just tried to recruit me as a dwarf. I'm Dusk Fox. To put this in perspective for you, I'm the one who recruited Al. It's rather impossible for me to join as a dwarf if I'm already a Kai Lord.
 

toothill man

Mongoose
DuskFox said:
you just tried to recruit me as a dwarf. I'm Dusk Fox. To put this in perspective for you, I'm the one who recruited Al. It's rather impossible for me to join as a dwarf if I'm already a Kai Lord.

am a natural born sales man :lol: and so given a job will do it to the best of my abilities so even if saw joe denver would ask him nicely if he has joined tower of the sun and if not if he would care too join as a dwarf gunner it would be a catch :wink: :lol:

as you cannot yourself join know anyone who would be up for a laugh and unlimited bor brew :twisted: 8) :lol:
 

DuskFox

Mongoose
toothill man said:
am a natural born sales man :lol: and so given a job will do it to the best of my abilities so even if saw joe denver would ask him nicely if he has joined tower of the sun and if not if he would care too join as a dwarf gunner it would be a catch :wink: :lol:

Well, I'm sure somewhere out there Joe Dever is just waiting for you to ask him to come play a dwarf on TotS.
 
Very nice. I've taken the liberty of makign som edits. Edits in bold.

The Wolf said:
It was almost dark…

The icy wind blew in fierce angry gusts as it howled across the top of the Great Bor range. It threw snow in dappled white patters across the stone walls of Brakanbar Keep, where the grey had become stained with red.

A fierce battle raged where the foul and loathsome Giaks kept throwing wave after wave of soldiers against the stalwart defence, as if they were an unending tide of madness. All around the shouts and screams of combat rang, punctuated now and then by the unnerving ‘thoom’ of the Dwarven Bor rifles.


I would take this out, or replace it with a more fitting metaphor. This one is clunky and doesn't flow well.

The Wolf said:
A Giak fell to one side, part of its face missing and the still smoking remains cooled rapidly in the slew of snow. Yet still they swarmed the walls, their weapons slashing and hacking as the Dwarves fired another volley.

“Hold the line!” Another great blast and several smaller echoes followed as the next horde of Giak were shredded by shot.

“Is there no end to these damnable things?” Harradar growled as the frost caked on his beard, he began to reload his rifle and slammed the butt of it upon the frozen ground.

This should be "missing, and"
This should be "beard; he"

The Wolf said:
The first voice, a Master Gunner known as Garagold shook his head and hunkered down behind a defence wall. “No Harradar,” he answered with a sigh. “There’s never an end…just a pause in a chapter of our lives.”

A volley of spears sailed overhead and several defenders fell back pierced but still alive, their grunts of pain joined the cacophony of battle.

The first voice is an odd way to introduce him. I know you are trying to say that this is the man who yelled "Hold the line!" but it causes the reader to have to leap back to that earlier sentence and hurts the flow of the story.

This should be "alive; their"

The Wolf said:
“I see what you mean,” Harradar set his rifle steady and took aim, felling another Giak with a thunderous crack and whorl of smoke. He notched a small nick into his rifle’s wooden stock and grinned. “I’m three up on you old man.”

Garagold narrowed his eyes and growled. “This is no competition lad, this is life and death. If we loose this fortress, then there’s little we can do to stem the black tide.”

"Lose" not "Loose" unless they are going to fire the fortress at the giaks ^_^

The Wolf said:
“Aye,” the other Dwarf consented to this and began to reload once more, as the Giak swarmed over the old stone. “Ye’d think they’d have something better to do than to keep throwing themselves at us, adding to the pile of the dead.”

This piece isn't neccesary. We know he consented because he said "Aye." Take out the "consented to this and"

Giak should be plural.

The Wolf said:
“Wearing us down it is…we’re running low on ammunition and powder.” It was the Master Gunner’s turn to fire his rifle and he winged one Giak, the shot passing clean through the throat of another.

“Two for one,” Harradar growled and his breath blew out in frosty gasps. “Nice one old man.

Should be "Nice one, old man"

The Wolf said:
“T’was naught but luck.” The old one kissed his cold knuckles and ducked down behind the wall again. This continued on for the better part of an hour with the seemingly endless howling and screeching creatures determined to drown them with their sheer weight of numbers.

But Garagold had been right; the Giaks were draining their resources and whittling their resolve down, slowly but surely. He estimated they could hold this fort for another hour perhaps two and then they would be overwhelmed.

Since you are agreeing with the previous sentence, this should be "And Garagold," not "but"


That's all for now. I like the story, by the way.
 

Bewildered Badger

Banded Mongoose
At the risk of sounding hypercritical, that line about the Helghast suddenly deciding to be somewhere else jarred somewhat. The rest of the piece had a distinct style, but this was a bit too contempory to fit in. The rest of it was very atmospheric, though, and perhaps, Wolf, you should consider a short story for S&P. Wait till you've detailed the keep, though!
 

toothill man

Mongoose
noticed that lots the helghasts were the secreat enemy but seem to be used all the time which I think lessens their inpact some :evil:
 

The Wolf

Mongoose
Bewildered Badger said:
At the risk of sounding hypercritical, that line about the Helghast suddenly deciding to be somewhere else jarred somewhat. The rest of the piece had a distinct style, but this was a bit too contempory to fit in. The rest of it was very atmospheric, though, and perhaps, Wolf, you should consider a short story for S&P. Wait till you've detailed the keep, though!

I've made a couple of changes to the Helghast scene since then, but haven't updated. I wanted to pull the Helghast out but I really should have given a deeper reason, or rather defined that reason in the piece, so I think that's where it falls down.

So now if you go back and read you can see the other scene, which I had in mind - which might be a little more heroic :)
 

The Wolf

Mongoose
Zipp Dementia said:
Very nice. I've taken the liberty of makign som edits. Edits in bold.

The Wolf said:
It was almost dark…

The icy wind blew in fierce angry gusts as it howled across the top of the Great Bor range. It threw snow in dappled white patters across the stone walls of Brakanbar Keep, where the grey had become stained with red.

A fierce battle raged where the foul and loathsome Giaks kept throwing wave after wave of soldiers against the stalwart defence, as if they were an unending tide of madness. All around the shouts and screams of combat rang, punctuated now and then by the unnerving ‘thoom’ of the Dwarven Bor rifles.


I would take this out, or replace it with a more fitting metaphor. This one is clunky and doesn't flow well.

The Wolf said:
A Giak fell to one side, part of its face missing and the still smoking remains cooled rapidly in the slew of snow. Yet still they swarmed the walls, their weapons slashing and hacking as the Dwarves fired another volley.

“Hold the line!” Another great blast and several smaller echoes followed as the next horde of Giak were shredded by shot.

“Is there no end to these damnable things?” Harradar growled as the frost caked on his beard, he began to reload his rifle and slammed the butt of it upon the frozen ground.

This should be "missing, and"
This should be "beard; he"

The Wolf said:
The first voice, a Master Gunner known as Garagold shook his head and hunkered down behind a defence wall. “No Harradar,” he answered with a sigh. “There’s never an end…just a pause in a chapter of our lives.”

A volley of spears sailed overhead and several defenders fell back pierced but still alive, their grunts of pain joined the cacophony of battle.

The first voice is an odd way to introduce him. I know you are trying to say that this is the man who yelled "Hold the line!" but it causes the reader to have to leap back to that earlier sentence and hurts the flow of the story.

This should be "alive; their"

The Wolf said:
“I see what you mean,” Harradar set his rifle steady and took aim, felling another Giak with a thunderous crack and whorl of smoke. He notched a small nick into his rifle’s wooden stock and grinned. “I’m three up on you old man.”

Garagold narrowed his eyes and growled. “This is no competition lad, this is life and death. If we loose this fortress, then there’s little we can do to stem the black tide.”

"Lose" not "Loose" unless they are going to fire the fortress at the giaks ^_^

The Wolf said:
“Aye,” the other Dwarf consented to this and began to reload once more, as the Giak swarmed over the old stone. “Ye’d think they’d have something better to do than to keep throwing themselves at us, adding to the pile of the dead.”

This piece isn't neccesary. We know he consented because he said "Aye." Take out the "consented to this and"

Giak should be plural.

The Wolf said:
“Wearing us down it is…we’re running low on ammunition and powder.” It was the Master Gunner’s turn to fire his rifle and he winged one Giak, the shot passing clean through the throat of another.

“Two for one,” Harradar growled and his breath blew out in frosty gasps. “Nice one old man.

Should be "Nice one, old man"

The Wolf said:
“T’was naught but luck.” The old one kissed his cold knuckles and ducked down behind the wall again. This continued on for the better part of an hour with the seemingly endless howling and screeching creatures determined to drown them with their sheer weight of numbers.

But Garagold had been right; the Giaks were draining their resources and whittling their resolve down, slowly but surely. He estimated they could hold this fort for another hour perhaps two and then they would be overwhelmed.

Since you are agreeing with the previous sentence, this should be "And Garagold," not "but"


That's all for now. I like the story, by the way.


Interesting edits. This is why editors exist, of course. The sheer volume of writing I do doesn't leave much time for anything but the most cursory of personal edits. I usually leave that to the editors themselves, otherwise I'd never get anything written.

I'd be constantly going back, re-writing and polishing until the cows came home. If it becomes part of the article, or some of it is used in the keep, then it'll be up to Mongoose's editor to sort it out.

Of course it doesn't mean I can't use these suggestions. But they in turn may get altered by Mongoose's editor - since its my experience that every single editor has a different editorial style and that also varies across the whole spectrum between US and UK editors. I also tend to work in Word, so if it doesn't pick up on a , being altered to a ; I don't tend to check for that myself.

Anyways...first page updated, TotS to follow.
 

The Wolf

Mongoose
toothill man said:
noticed that lots the helghasts were the secreat enemy but seem to be used all the time which I think lessens their inpact some :evil:

There's nothing secret about this Helghast. If you need to put those pesky dwarves in their places, what do you send?

A lone Giak?

A small army of Giak?

A larger army of Giak and a Helghast to make sure the job's done right?

I understand what you mean tho there toothill, Helghast shouldn't be in every story, scene or even in every book/fiction.
 
The Wolf said:
toothill man said:
noticed that lots the helghasts were the secreat enemy but seem to be used all the time which I think lessens their inpact some :evil:

There's nothing secret about this Helghast. If you need to put those pesky dwarves in their places, what do you send?

A lone Giak?

A small army of Giak?

A larger army of Giak and a Helghast to make sure the job's done right?

I understand what you mean tho there toothill, Helghast shouldn't be in every story, scene or even in every book/fiction.

It's a bit like the plural of samurai being samurai. Never assume that foreign languages use our english grammatical structure (foreign languages like American where they use than instead of to). I honestly haven't found the time to read this yet but I'll give some comments when I have (either here or over at TotS).
 

toothill man

Mongoose
just that helghast are a easy way out :evil: for example has the noble got a reason too betray his king no because its a helghast has the lovers had one too many fights no its a helghast the priest being blackmailed over a affair in his youth noo you guess didnt you and so its not good for a long term game too use them more than say once in a campain not every week
 
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