You are pressed shoulder-to-shoulder with sweating peasants under a
sweltering summer sun. The stench of hog herders and grain farmers permeates
the crowd as you all look north to the rickety scaffolding erected beside
the city wall. A large, slovenly man in a black hood heaves an axe over his
shoulder and mounts the steps to the platform atop the scaffolding. Waiting
for him to arrive is a prisoner, his face covered in a burlap sack, his arms
held securely by three men-at-arms. Even from hundreds of yards away, you
can hear his sharp intake of breath as the wooden beams creak under the
executioner’s heavy steps. Thirty feet above him, the Thirteenth Duke of
Magnussen looks down from the city wall, nervously fingering his thick iron
crown. This is the iron crown given to his sire thirteen generations
removed, when the ambitious first Duke of Magnussen made a fell pact with an
unknown power, who asked for but one thing in return: the thirteenth
daughter born to a Magnussen duke. Now, thirteen generations hence, that
daughter stands shaking beside her father, as both watch the executioner
sharpen his axe. The man to lose his head today is a screeching prophet who
madly called for the death of Magnussen’s daughter before disaster should
befall the city. For his words, today he dies.
The executioner swings his axe in a looping motion. Thunk. The severed head
somehow misses the waiting basket and rolls forward into the crowd, which
shrinks backward to avoid the rolling orb. There is a hot, sweaty moment of
stunned silence as the burlap sack falls away to reveal the dead man’s face.
It is – the Duke’s face! The dead man has the Duke’s same face! All eyes
turn to the stricken Duke, who looks on in horror.
Suddenly the obese executioner pulls off his black hood and the crowd gasps
as one. He has no face – no – instead, there sits at the top of his neck a
brilliant silver skull, gleaming in the hot sun. The silver skull turns to
face the Duke, and then the sun is blotted out as a vast leathery winged
lizard descends from places unknown. In a flash it grasps the Duke’s
screaming daughter in one of its massive claws and picks up the
silver-skulled executioner in the other! As it flaps ponderously upward, the
silver skull laughs ominously as the Duke reaches futilely to the sky while
his stunned men-at-arms try, too late, to string their bows.
“My daughter!” cries the Duke. “A fortune in gems to the man who returns to
me my daughter!”
In the distance, you see that the Silver Skull has mounted the great flying
lizard, as it wings back across the city walls to drop behind the Duke’s
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Joseph Goodman Intro for SCMC 4
Joseph Goodman is running a Dungeon Crawl Classics game at SoCal Minicon 4. He just sent me this extensive intro for the scenario he's running. There are only two seats left open for Joseph's July 30 afternoon session, so if you want in on the DCC action you better act fast and email me with your RSVP!