Comment on the current image to decide what happens next.
Or comment on facebook!
Written and Illustrated by Thomas Bennett Jobling
After rolling up your sleeping bag and securing the spade and knife with straps to the outside of your pack, you set out towards the Cracked Tower. Walking at a steady pace, you tread across the white wastes, careful to watch out for sudden drops or slopes. To the eye, the Clearrock Span is an open white expanse - nothing marking it. In reality, it sits on the back of massive glaciers that drift and crack with the changing seaons. This creates a shifting terrain with hidden drops, slopes, and cliffs that rise up from seemingly nowhere. Children of Koronheim are trained from the cities walls to spot these changes in the whiteness from the citie’s walls, but being out here is a whole different expirience. But it is something you have been expecting, and so navigate your way across The Hunger with few troubles.
The sun sets after seven hours, and the shifting lights of the borealis illuminate your journey through the night. Though most would quit or stop to rest, you press on until the sun rises and sets for a second time, keeping the Crack Tower fixed in front of you. You reach the foot of the Tower as the sun rapidly descends behind you. As you approach the base, weary and wary, you see a camp fire is lit not far from you.
It is unusal to see anyone out in The Hunger, but Koronheim is the only city left in the world and it’s inhabitants are always hospitable to one another.
You begin to approach the camp, hoping to make out who the figure seated at the fire could be. It looks like a female, dressed for far warmer a setting than this harsh wasteland. As you draw closer, careful to approach unseen, she turns to face you. You know that you made no sounds, and aided by the cloak you should be unseen - but the moment her eye settle upon you, you can feel it. She can see you. More unsettling is the look of her eyes. Black. Cloudy. Deep. Though she sits a fair distance away, when she speaks, her voice rings clearly in your ears.
"Come closer, youngling. Seat yourself by the flames and join me, fr the night is dark and the Cracked Tower is a haunted place."
What do you do?
You take stock of your inventory.
You carry the equipment gifted to all younglings sent into The Hunger to earn their citizenship:
You have sleeping bag, oiled and lined with with fur.
You have a small spade for digging shelter in the snow.
You have the amount of rations allotted to all younglings on their pilgrimage - three days worth.
You have a small knife, useful for skinning, cleaning, or carving.
You have a warm, hooded, robe, for travel in The Hunger.
You have a pair of wooden snow goggles, to help you see.
You have a warm scarf and mittens.
You have leather boots lined with fur, and a pair of snow shoes to fit over them.
You also have the gifts from your parents:
A white cloak, to aid you with stealth.
Finely made gloves, to keep your hands warm without losing any manual dexterity.
7 hours of light remain.
The Cracked Tower is about 28 hours away,
What is your next move adventurer?
Some seek treasures to define their roles in society. Weapons for the Stalkers. Relics for Bards. Young for the Beastmasters. These younglings let other people define their role in society. But not you. You know that legends define their own roles. And so you have decided that your journey into adulthood will take you to the Cracked Tower, a distant mountain said to house temples to the Elder Ones, creatures that shaped the world into solid mass it is today. There are many Stalkers who would not dare to travel to the Cracked Tower - but you will, and return with a treasure.
The journey will be long. for this reason you have been preparing.
You are skilled in endurance. You are trained to go long periods without food or sleep, and can handle harsh weather conditions.
You are skilled in knowledge of the Elder Ones. Well, skilled is a stretch. You have collected rumors, legends, and old wives tales about the Elder Ones and their influence in the world. Some would say your theories are for nutjobs, but they just dont see the whole picture.
Set on your destination, you trudge off into The Hunger. It will take several days to reach your goal, and most of it will be done in the dark - the sun is up for barely 1/3 of the day. Unless of course, you wish to play it safe and only travel when the sun is up. It will be three days journey traveling all day, and six if you only travel when it is light.
What course will you take, adventurer?
You have decided the best way to prove your value is to return with something of great value to the settlement, won not through might but through skill. Those who can move unnoticed, or evade the dangers that lurk in The Hunger are highly valued by the people of Koronheim and among the Stalkers. The Hunger is dangerous though, and many who seek its treasures die in the attempt. But you have come prepared!
You are carrying a white cloak - to aid in stealth tasks. This was a gift from your mother.
You are carrying a pair of fine leather gloves - to keep your hands dextrous and warm. This was a gift from your father.
There are many treasures out in the Hunger, each of which tell of a different skill. What will you prove?
Some try to recover equipment lost by Stalkers, hoping to earn their respect and join their ranks not as a soldier, but as a scout or ranger.
Some seek the treasures of the past, looking for remains of Those Who Came Before. The lessons of the past are valuable, and treasure hunters who can navigate the Hunger and find them are valued even higher.
Some try and steal form the Hunger itself! Stealing eggs or pups from the beasts of the Hunger show a mastery of stealth, as well as providing powerful beasts to the citizens of Koronheim. Beastmasters are rare though, as few younglings can survive the beasts’ lairs.
And those brave few seek out items of power - legendary items spoken of in hushed tones. There are said to be lost temples to elder things out on the edge of the Clearrock Span, nestled in the Cracked Tower. It is said only one youngling ever returned with a treasure from the Cracked Tower, and that the experience left them touched by strange powers. But it’s just an urban legend, isn’t it?
Seven hours of light remain.
What do you seek to prove, adventurer?
Dawn breaks across the Clearrock Span. At this time of year the sun is only up for seven hours a day, and you hope to make the most of the daylight. It is your first day out in snowy wasteland dubbed The Hunger, beyond the protection of Koronheim’s walls and the aid of the Stalkers.
But all who wish to call Koronheim their home must survive the Hunger.
Must go out and prove they can survive.
Must come back no longer a child, but a citizen.
Each youngling sets out with a quest in mind; something to prove their value as a citizen.
Some hunt the great beasts of the hunger, showing their superior strength
Some seek out and commune with the spirits, showing their connection to the mystical arts.
Some search for lost treasures - things left behind by Stalkers or even Those Who Came Before.
And some folk simply endure the cold, not eating or sleeping, but waiting until they overcome the elements - forging themselves into something capable of enduring anything the Worldcrown could threaten you with.
What adventure brings you to the Clearrock Span?
You greet your choir seated around the flames, and discuss the day’s course of action. You decide the best course of action is to split up and search the facility to get the lay of the land.
Tachi and Nirav will search the eastern hall.
Almas and Sidd will search the western hall.
You and Dohna will go back up the stairs to speak more with the guide, or to search the vents and passages up there.
You eat, drink, and make your way up the long stairway with Dohna. The room at the top is as you left it: Small, with passages running east and west in a trench, with some vents that could be crawled through to the south and east. The orb still glows fifteen feet above.
What is your next course of action?
You take in Dohna’s words as you descend the stairs towards the camp. Down in the entryway, your choir has set up a tent and platform over the access stairway to the Deep Roads - blocking anything from getting up behind you and creating an entrenched location should you need to fall back here. Tachi goes to find her father to consult the beginnings of the map and discuss where the tunnels might lead.
You head to the sleeping tent and crawl into the dome, settling into your bed and starting the first verses of the Aloum Edda. You chant the mantras and slow your breathing, receding into the darkness of your mind and the embrace of Deep Sleepers.
When you awake, you see that Almas the acolyte is asleep in her bed, and Nirav the warrior sits in his own bed reading the Songs of War, humming the tune softly as he does.
You dress and step out of the tent to see Dohna and the Diggers seated around a small flame, baking.
You have 3 unspent skill points and 1 unspent specialty.
What is your next course of action?
Tachi sets to mapping the room while you and Dohna approach the ball of light. Dohna raises her staff to the ball and sings to it with the Ohejm crystal. The magics in her staff react with the magics in the sphere, and from the light a face descends.
It sings to you, but not in your ears. The voice is strong and clear in your mind. “Welcome, travelers of the Deeps. Corwyn has awaited your return. I am the Guide. How may I be of assistance?”
Dohna looks to you, her staff raised to keep the magics going. What do you ask the guide?