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Threetoe's Stories, and Analysis

Orther Pushes His Luck

By Threetoe

Orther knelt before the king. Light shone through the great stain glass windows of the hall, bathing the throne room in color. Orther had traveled many miles and fought many savage battles before he reached the great stone castle. For many years the countryside had become increasingly dangerous. Dark forces were at work. It was suicide to travel the lonely roads at night. The king lifted his head to look on the grizzled warrior. He was clad in leather with a huge and well-worn axe he had laid at the king's feet. The king told a story of how his closest advisor had abducted his daughter and sold her to the kobolds. The king promised gold and riches for her safe return, even the princess's hand in marriage if he would only bring her back. Uthur was dangerous said the king. He had the king's complete confidence when he betrayed him. There was no doubt he would try to hinder Orther's mission.

Orther mounted his horse and rode across the great castle moat into the dark forest. Through the dark trees there appeared a black coated stag that wandered through the woods. Orther spoke the charm of protection and urged his stead onward. The black stag appeared on the trail before him. Orther pulled back on the reins, bringing his horse to a halt. The beast looked at him for a while, and wandered off into the woods. Orther moved slowly forward, when he crossed the stag's path, he drew a leaf of green-blossom and threw it over his left shoulder. That night he built a small fire and kept his axe close at hand. He drew a circle around the camp and lined in with river stones.

It was midnight when out of the darkness stepped the demon Metaculous. He wore the shape of a man but was easy to recognize for his fangs and the disturbing eyes of a goat. He did not cross the circle. "Know this Orther: ", said the demon, "Many times you have escaped death using the dark arts, but should you find yourself submerged in water, your soul with be mine." The demon vanished.

Orther rode swiftly all the next day and that evening he found kobold-sign. Small footprints crawling with worms. He tied his horse to a tree and followed the tracks into the woods. He saw glowing eyes in the dark. Kobolds habitually chewed dark-root which allowed them to see in the dark. Orther had some of these roots in his pack. However he rarely used them. The dark-root caused ones eyes to glow. Orther was aware of the kobolds advantage, but using his wood-craft, he stayed behind the bushes and was soon close enough to strike. Orther crept past the body, wary of eyes in the dark.

He heard a voice in the dark. It was lifted in beautiful song, but the tale it told was one of sorrow and hatred. Ahead he saw a campfire, set before a cave carved into a sheer cliff face. A beautiful girl stood in the middle of a circle of kobolds. The evil creatures heckled her in their foul language. When she stopped singing and burst into tears, they pelted her with centipedes and grubs. If only they understood what she sang, thought Orther, they would put her out of her misery.

Orther let out a piercing battle cry. The kobolds scrabbled for their weapons and soon the tree Orther hid behind was bristling with poisonous arrows. The kobolds dragged the girl into the cave, while three of the bravest charged into the woods only to be hacked down by Orther's axe. So it was that only the craftiest of kobolds survived, cultivating the wiliness of their kind. Orther charged into the cave, stopping briefly to chew some dark-root. They couldn't have gotten far, having to carry the girl, he only hoped they hadn't killed her to speed their escape. Around him were strewn the remnants of a lost civilization. Rough-hewn floors were soon replaced by incredible stone-work. Following the scrapping of kobold feet, Orther emerged into a huge cavern. A crumbling stone bridge spanned a giant river. Orther paused, recalling the demon's curse. He heard the girl scream and charged across the bridge.

Passing through a narrow archway he found a giant room. In the center was a huge monster. A mountain troll. Its body rippling with muscle and covered with black fur. Impaled on its tusks was the body of a kobold. Other kobolds littered the floor, torn into pieces. The girl cowered in a corner, grasping at the walls, unable to see in the dark. Orther envied her blindness. The troll spit the kobold corpse from its maw and charged at Orther. He backed through the archway and onto the bridge. The troll smashed the archway with his fists, forcing its way through the stone. Once it stepped on the bridge Orther hacked at its ankle. The troll let out a howl of pain and plunged into the water.

Orther brought the princess out of the cave and they both mounted his horse and rode back to the castle. On the lonely road Orther saw the black stag cross his path once again. When they reached the castle the draw bridge was down, but the guards were absent. A lone man stood on the bridge. It was the traitor, Uthur.

Orther leaped from his horse.

"Do not block my path evil-doer!" shouted Orther. Uthur laughed. "Am I lectured on morality by a man who keeps company with demons?"

Uthur drew his sword and Orther charged onto the bridge. Uthur lifted his hand and Orther's axe was covered with slime and fell from his hands. Uthur swung his sword and Orther caught his sword arm in his hand. Together they danced, fighting over the sword. Orther pushed the villain to the edge of the bridge. With all his strength, Orther forced the sword into the traitor's guts.

Uthur smiled, blood pouring from his mouth. He threw his arms around Orther's neck and lept backwards sending both men plunging into the moat. Beneath the water, Orther stared into his enemy's smiling face. Slowing it transformed into the face of the demon, and the water became fire.


    • songs: they have an emotional character, could also have generated lyrics
    • performance-audience relationships: rows/circles etc
    • rituals associated to greeting rulers and others
    • motivations: betrayal by close advisors for money etc
    • slavery systems: which entities will purchase daughters and why
    • superstitutions and associated charms: can see others doing this, can tell they are scared this way
    • higher premium for royal weddings and so on, wedding offers and offers related to people involved in the quest (like the rescue target) occur more frequently, notion of a proving quest
    • warnings: gossip, telling you about things they don't like about others
    • a quest target can get wind of the quest and attempt to stop it for instance, they can make entity guards scarce at appropriate times
    • evil creatures can debase their captives
      • can involve forced tasks, sometimes meaningless tasks for amusement, punishment for failing forced tasks
      • can heckle them
      • doesn't necessarily involve outright torture
      • emotional strain on the captive can involve various modes of release, including crying or quivering with fear or outbursts of rage, and more
    • can check people out, and look them over to get more information this applies to non-players as well: guys can show experience or wilderness living or attributes through their appearance
    • shouting hero things to evil people, kind of the converse of talking shit
    • reins and means of improving control over ridden creatures
    • creatures can become flighty when confronted by evil, can be consoled and urged forward
    • notion of killing somebody you like to free them from an ordeal (mental or physical)
    • stopping mounts from wandering by restraining them
    • protect valuable possessions by taking them away from threats, could involve a sacrifice or a diversion
    • appearance rating:
      • some people can be more beautiful than others
      • this can vary from entity to entity, so it could use actual description/numeric traits
    • traits of creatures being passed on to their offspring
      • at least for tracked hist figs
      • this would lead to natural selection
      • for evolution, would need randomization of traits on top of this
    • sullies on items can lead to drops and easier disarms
    • eating things can lead to side effects
    • we have detailing become worn down over time, but stone buildings don't and they should (as the wooden buildings do)
    • lighting -- sunlight changes color on the way in through windows
    • arrows sticking in trees and other terrain features
    • fear of dark, blindness in dark settings (and others), groping and general hopelessness
    • camp fires to keep warm
    • different travel speeds, depends on mounts etc
    • if you are a novice adventurer, then when you are sleeping you might find that your weapon is far away if you are ambushed
    • using features of the terrain during sneaking to enhance your chances
    • having your eyes glow should give away your position to the enemy, it currently only works for you seeing them
    • possibly add narrow passages or doorways that stop large creatures, the creatures could destroy these, but if they can't then this is very abusable
    • tracking for specific creatures
      • actually come up with the signs associated to the creature
      • the player might have to learn these, or at least be told them or something
      • both at the region travel and regular game level
    • if you are actively fleeing, you should decrease your inventory weight if it is easy
    • pain shout vocalizations
    • descriptions of death scenes
    • if mouths (and teeth) go in and eating/breathing tubes, then injuries to internal organs can cause blood to pass through these orifices rather than straight through the wound, can be used in diseases
    • wrestle:
      • countering strikes by grabbing attack parts
      • using a grapple to move your opponent (you can either move with your opponent or not)
      • if an adjacent opponent falls over an edge, they can grab you or some building or terrain feature to stop their descent but gravity can have a lot of influence here and take both down, the grabber could intend this
      • manipulating or even attacking with an opponents inventory items when you only control, the limb grasping it or even a limb parent (but not upper body)
    • communication: ability to talk to evil monsters about things
    • language barriers
    • rescue quests
    • animal transformations, foreboding omens and appearances
    • incomplete transformations that give away the essence of the transformer
    • teleportation, return to plane of existence, vanishing images etc.
    • exchange powers for weaknesses:
      • kind of a mythical tone
      • scenarios/formative experiences add to this, especially for larger than life characters
      • can have an in-game mechanism as well, it is more difficult to track these