Thursday, 2 January 2014

A New Year, A New Era for HoF

A new year is upon us, fellow gamers. With it we bring news of an exciting new product nearing completion: Hands of Fate - Exile's End! This new edition of the Hands of Fate System bring updated rules, streamlining of several key aspects of the game, and SPACESHIPS! Yes that's right, we go Space Opera!

But fear not, we haven't forgotten our previous promise; another story from the up and coming Behind The Throne enchantments supplement for HoF:

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

King Harlgrif was but the shadow of the man he was two seasons ago. The terrible poison of the foreigners had taken its toll on him and his household, eating away at his body, reducing him to a feeble old man as weak as a milk drinker. His finest warriors, his strongest advisors, they all suffered as he had. How foolish had he been? How could he have let the rat faced merchant trick him so?

The snake had never smoked his own herb, he had realised too late into the addiction. When he tried to stop, he could not. It made him weak of mind as well as body. The last of his cursed stock was dwindling and rationing had been in force for weeks. It had been disastrous when they tried to give up the smoke. His own son had died; two others perished when their hearts gave out, the rest were driven almost to madness before the King ordered them to ration the herb to all that needed it.

And now, when his worst fears were about to become reality – the last of the herb literally up in smoke, the foreigners’ army are at his Hold, demanding access to the mountain pass.

Their spokesman stood before him now, as the King slumped in his chair.

In addition to the unfettered access to the pass, we require the use of your Clan Hold as a staging point to advance towards the west. We shall build a fort in the middle of the Hold, the walls of the Hold itself acting as an added line of defence.”

Harlgrif did not like this man, reading from a list of demands like he was already defeated. He had yet to lift his axe to the invaders, and already they treat him like a defeated foe! His blood boiled, his rage momentarily giving him energy enough to ignore the terrible affliction plaguing his body. He rose, crashing aside a table beside him for refreshments.
I am King of this Clan! This Hold! This Pass!” He bellowed, “We are the Karthi! We do not bow to demands from foreign milk drinkers!”

To his credit, the foreigner actually looked impressed at the King’s outburst. “Your majesty, these are not demands, but requests in good faith. We have coin to pay for these valuable services you can offer us.”

We have no use for Imperial coins! What fool would trade his own currency for worthless metal from another land?”

The coastal holds accept our coin, as do several other lands we have encountered on our march through these lands. But if it is not coin you desire, we have other…luxuries.”

The King blinked. His energy spent he nearly collapsed into his chair. An aide rushed to attend him but the King waved him off in annoyance. “Go on…” he urged.

I can’t help but notice a certain affliction, prevalent in your good peoples…”

You speak of the poison brought to my Hold by one of your peoples. A snake disguised as a merchant.”

Yes, your grace, a most foul act by an unscrupulous individual. We have methods of weening the addicted off such poisons, advanced herbalism and medical techniques. If you agree to our terms I can arrange for our apothecaries to begin treating and teaching this aid to you immediately.”

For such aid, I will only grant you access to our mountain pass. I will not side with the Empire in this…invasion.”

Exploration, your grace,” corrected the spokesman, “we bring the riches and culture of a vast Empire to these lands, no more. Perhaps, though, I can sway you to accept my whole request…”

The only thing that would convince me to side with you in this war, for that is what it is to be should you pass beyond this mountain, is if you find me the snake that did this to me. His death at my hands would restore my honour. Nothing less shall I agree to.”

Your Majesty…the knave is indeed known to us, he is our prisoner even now, a criminal of the basest of crimes. Lieutenant Horten, bring forth your charge!”

An armoured soldier in the Empire’s livery advanced from the gathering of foreigners in the hall. The Lieutenant shoved a battered and beaten man before him, who stumbled and fell. The swollen and disfigured face of Finix looked up at the King.

Once more the King was on his feet, ailment forgotten. He looked at Finix with a hatred he had never known before.

You shall have your fort, Imperial, you shall have access to my pass and men for your war…”

The Imperials withdrew from the Karthi hall. Still the King stared at the broken man before him, seething.

What say you, dog? How shall you die?”

A small gasping moan was all Finix managed, but his mouth opened long enough for all to see his broken teeth, the blistered stump where a hot knife had cut out his tongue.