May 29, 2020, 03:21:34 PM

Author Topic: Match Narratives  (Read 2138 times)


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Match Narratives
« on: March 14, 2015, 11:41:14 PM »
Hola, chicos. My friend and I have a tradition where the winner of our weekly MW match will write up an (increasingly detailed) narrative, loosely based on that match + the spells used.  We both feel the game is hyper-amenable to this sort of treatment, and I thought that we can't be the only ones this lost in the universe, so, in the unlikely eventuality anyone else already does something similar, or feels the urge to start doing it, feel free to post it here. I'll start things off with my unlikely-to-be-wholly-consistent-with-Etherian-lore-or-geography take on our first-ever Necro vs Anvil Throne Warlord match-    (If anyone's interested, I can do a follow-up post on the actual cards played, but it should be fairly easy to guess most of them)


       The Dwarven king surveyed the workers’ construction with a muted smile;  these wooden outposts stretched the borders of his territory through southern Straywood forests into the heart of the Darkfenne, and there had been no resistance, or even signs of life, from the legendary swamp lands yet.  Local superstition warned strongly against any forays into these supposedly-cursed bogs, but, as a full-blood Dwarf, he prided himself on being unfettered by such primitive fears.

       So deeply unshackled from tradition was the king, in fact, that he’d bought reanimated skeleton slaves to do the hard work of clearing and draining the bog lands for these outposts, at great expense, and against heavy protest from his council.  What did he care for archaic customs forbidding the use of undead minions? What harm could come of it? They were immune to the innumerable illnesses and poisons these lands always seemed to inflict upon the living, and could work tirelessly through night and day; that was all that mattered. He looked out at the dark mists slowly pressing their way towards his new tower through the black and stunted trees beyond the cleared area for a brief moment, spit, and turned back to monitor his serfs.

       At that moment, in a shadowy cove within the Darkfenne, alarmingly close to the recently erected fortifications, a faded lich opened its eyes for the first time in millennia.  He knew immediately that an ancient pact had been broken; the bog had been invaded by outsiders, someone outside the dark faith had practiced necromancy, and now the eons-old forces preventing him from using his arts no longer held any sway here.  He opened the dusty chest beside his former tomb, and lifted out the remains of a large tome, once tightly bound with the skin of a faithful servant, now little more than blistered parchment and dust.  He inhaled sharply, accessing profane wells of power struck long before Dwarves had ever set foot in the Darkfenne, and exhaled a noxious fluid all over the outside of the tome, and then slumped, spent. After a few moments, the book began to shake, and, while the Necromancer’s eyes opened and closed slowly, the tattered skin that bound it began to reform anew. A lidded eye, previously hidden deep within the leathery folds, flared open for a brief moment, fixed its gaze on its owner, and then shut. After a few more minutes, he rose gracefully, slowly, to his feet, holding his blasphemous bible in his hands, and let it fall open to a page. Graven in some dark red ink of unknown provenance, on the first side of the faded parchment, were plans for a massive, misshapen structure, with bones protruding at odd angles from its edges; on the second page, in far blacker ink, there appeared to be a diagram of an altar, as one would find in a church, but made of human skulls.

      The Dwarven king slashed through the last of the brush separating his new tower from a large, flat basin within the swamplands; wide, wet, and nearly flat, it remained shrouded in those damnable mists that his workers, or at least the living ones, so irrationally feared. It mattered not; his outposts were nearly finished, and then his town would never need fear these glorified toad pools again. As he stared into the seemingly black fog, he noticed the wind pick up in from what seemed like the wrong direction, and, within moments, the entire clearing was free of mist. In its place, evidently pushing up through the brackish waters of the bog itself, was a gleaming white fortress of bone, a hideous mishmash of what looked to be the remains of an untold number of different creatures. His jaw dropped, agape, and, for a moment that likely felt longer than it actually was, he met the eyes of what looked to be a tall, dark man in mage’s robes standing atop the highest tower at the center of the unholy mausoleum. His skin chilled, and some of his Dwarf-bred stoicism left him, for when one of the goblin scouts that was part of the clearing crew’s vanguard looked to him for orders, he was staring at the ground, and his face was a rictus of pure terror. Immediately, though, he composed himself, and raised his once-again steely expression to the grisly castle in front of him. The mage was gone, if he was ever there; these buildings were probably just ruins kept aloft by some decaying enchantment, an artifact from a history best left forgotten.  The Darkfenne was rife with such edifices. Still, the Dwarf did not become a king, or, for that matter, survive the process of learning magic, by not being cautious, so he dispatched a skeleton to investigate what appeared to be the gate of the fortress.
       Not ten steps towards it, however, the skeleton froze as a creature shambled out from the gates. The Dwarf recognized it immediately as a zombie, or reanimated human, and one with more or less all its parts; he’d considered and rejected them as workers, due to their interminable slowness. He laughed; only one? Perhaps there was no real mage in there after all. He ordered his men, and skeletons of men, to attack the shambling undead, and lost himself in the thrill of battle once again. He remained unfazed when well-placed arrows began sailing out from the walls of the keep and killing his goblin mercenaries; his messengers were even now rousing stronger, better-bred reinforcements at the town’s home barracks. Tiring of watching his troops hack off limbs to no seeming effect, the king sighed, unlimbered the enormous, man-sized bow from his back, and, with a controlled intake of breath, sent a stone shaft through the right eye of the zombie, and, turning away, failed to see it slowly fold to the ground, dead once again.

     Seeing no more immediate threats, the Dwarf ordered his soldiers to attack the very walls of the tower itself, all thought of navigating its labyrinthine northern entrance forgotten. He himself stood back, allowing his waiting armorer to rush in and help him into his ancestral battle armor and helm, and felt a familiar strength flood back into his body. The plate armor was of a metal mined from the cave-warrens the Dwarf had been born in, centuries ago, and its texture and smell carried him there as the armorer fastened the final clasps on the back of the relic. A cry brought his head up sharply, now adorned with a stately helmet that had always seemed to inspire obedience in subordinates. A horse-sized spider, evidently made of pure obsidian, had clambered over the now-ruined outer wall of the fortress, and leapt out towards the goblins hacking at it, crushing the last skeleton with them as it landed, the wall behind it finally collapsing from the force of the jump. It spun, twisting, transecting the final goblin soldiers with massive black claws, as a final arrow, arcing out almost lazily from the fortress, buried itself to the shaft in the chest of their screaming sergeant.

   Seeing that only he and the spider remained on the field, the Dwarf screamed, and rushed at the beast, an arrow flying towards it before it could even turn towards him. At that moment, the Dwarf king halfway to the monstrous spider, a host of heavily-armored Dwarves and Orcish berserkers boiled out from the woods to the north, rallying to their king. The spider, sensing doom, readied some hideous, squirming ichor within its jaws, and poised itself to leap at the Dwarf, but a final arrow through its gut ended whatever final plan had been concocted. As the soldiers joined their king, standing over the swollen, grotesque body of the spider, a rumbling shook the wet earth. Mere cubits away, the near wall, now little more that a heap of rubble and femurs, parted, and an entirely new mass of glistening bones and detritus rose through the bog below to replace it.
   “By Asyra’s gleaming ass!” muttered a Dwarven soldier holding a massive shield. The king stood still, weighing options, as another arrow sailed out to plant itself in the leg of a nearby Orc. The walls seemed to replenish themselves while being attacked, and there was no guarantee even a continued siege would cleave a large enough gap for his men to enter…and the twisting pathway barely visible beyond the northern gate lay open, seemingly inviting him in. He barked a quick command in the Dwarven military shortspeak all his regulars were required to learn, and as one, the host sprinted for the gate.

    Arrows arriving like clockwork, they rounded the corner at speed, armor clanking against itself, and filed under the grinning skull topping the gate’s arch; there was no time to pause or stop before the wave of eyeless skeletons waiting within slammed into the frontrunners. The Dwarves behind bellowed in surprise, immediately defensive, and barely raised their shields in time to stop the next volley of arrows. The Orcs, on the other hand, never slowed, closing en masse as they began a gruesome process of disassembly with their massive hammers. The Dwarven king, a bodyguard at his side, fired shaft after shaft into those repulsive masses of marrow, the grunts of the living and the clang of steel on steel echoing horribly all around them. The battle entered a curious form of stalemate, as Dwarves and Orcs dispatched skeletons as quickly as the new ones boiling out of the walls could replace them. Alarmingly, another of the massive spiders joined the fray, and what appeared to be a clawed and grinning spectre, but the soldiers were too blood-frenzied to care what they were slashing, and responded with renewed vigour.

    They were winning! The king smiled wanly, notching another arrow. But again, as before when he’d gained the upper hand, he felt the earth rumble, and, almost involuntarily, looked towards the center of the keep, over the heads of his soldiers. There, in the middle of an earthen pavilion, watching over the battle with a look of intense concentration, arms raised as if in some hideous parody of an Asryan cleric’s worship pose, stood the mage from the tower.  As another bone wall rose, infuriatingly, from the mire below, the king’s eyes were drawn to a small circular space, behind the mage’s pavilion, and open to the sky, where the Dwarven monarch had time to bear witness to a terrible tableau. An Elvish woman (or was it a man?), in the traditional garb of a priestess, was on her knees in front of a nightmarish sepulchre, seemingly composed wholly of the skulls of sentient beings; she turned to meet the gaze of the Dwarf, and, with a look of religious ecstasy, plunged a curved black dagger into her chest, pitching forward to bleed out on her final creation.

    Staring at the new wall standing between him and his foe, white and defiant, the King felt the antechamber of the keep was darker now; could the light of the setting sun have faded this fast? No, the air itself was growing cloudy with something, some thick brown smog. And then he heard one of his prized soldiers cough, lightly at first, and then, seconds later, the entire group began in earnest. He saw an Orc vomit blood over the white skull of an attacking skeleton, then take its now-bloodied head off at the neck with an axe. Less than five cubits away, another Orc, not as lucky, was impaled while bent over, trying to breathe in a hacking, lung-clearing fit. His men, and, Arraxian hells, he himself, would not last long in this putrescent cloud. The king knelt to the floor, in a gesture of supplication, and quickly spoke a series of guttural words in a language that bore no resemblance to Dwarvish or the tongues of men at all, suppressing the urge to cough as he did so.  The court’s elder sorcerer had made him memorize them, and perfect the inflections, when he had become king, for use ‘only when the kingdom itself was threatened’. Finishing the incantation, hoping he’d said it right, he ordered a final charge at the bone wall, as his men slowly succumbed to the noxious air all around him, a trickle of blood just beginning seeping out of the side of his mouth. 

    Back within the Dwarven town square, on a cracked and faded stone pedestal, a massive statue dedicated to the warrior deity Talos began to glow. six cubits tall, and made of the same material as the Dwarven king’s armor, it had been built to commemorate the only god the Dwarves really cared about, and they had kept the faith. With a great screeching roar, followed by a flash of light from its metal shell that never fully faded, the statue left its ancestral perch, and began marching stolidly toward the bogs, crushing carts as it went.

     With a great, shuddering crash, the wall between the king and the center of the keep collapsed, exposing the archers that had felled so many of his host, and, finally, the necromancer, seeming oddly detached from the macabre play acted out before him. Behind them, the blasphemous altar pulsed with a sickly green light.   The situation had grown dire indeed; his remaining soldiers were scarcely more alive than the corpses they fought, yet there was no real thought to retreat; reinforcements had brought word the poisonous mists had descended upon the Dwarven town, and so the remnants of the host surged forward, their desperation writ in every swing, parry, and step. All knew, consciously or not, that the only refuge lay in the destruction of the toxic altar, or perhaps the slaying of its architect, and the king cared not which one he reached first. He focused first on the necromancer, sprinting forward as fast as his squat legs would carry him, ignoring the loud crashing sounds behind him- but something was wrong, the necromancer was looking over the Dwarf’s head, his eyes growing wider, and suddenly the Dwarf was airborne. He landed hard, his armor taking most of the impact, and he sat up just in time to see his god, Talos, skeletal debris still trailing in his wake, swing a halberd the size of a tent pole at the enemy mage. The Necromancer rolled, but not quickly enough; the king saw black blood leak from his chest as he rose. Talos, expression implacable, began raising the massive weapon for another blow, and the king screamed at him to hurry, to attack again, to kill the mage now, before- no, it was too late. His surprisingly agile foe clambered vertically up the wall of the keep, his boots somehow holding fast to the walls, and disappeared from sight. No matter; he could be dealt with later, but the altar would kill them all soon. He screamed a command at the juggernaut before him, forgetting for a moment that he once worshipped this statue, and saw it tear effortlessly through the remaining skeletons between it and the altar. A few well-placed arrows from him, and then, finally, a terrible, slow blow like an avalanche from the giant’s halberd, and the altar shattered, spraying chunks of cranium like shrapnel through the keep. The toxic air began clearing immediately, and the king grinned. It was time to find that necromancer, and remind him why Dwarves were the species destined to- in the midst of that thought, the king almost lost consciousness, as a river of bile rose up within him, and, bringing him to his knees, poured out to the wet dirt below.

    The necromancer glided past the outbuildings of the Dwarven settlement, stepping over the already-bloated bodies of the town’s inhabitants as his gaze fixated on the now-empty pedestal in the town square. Presently, he stood before it, his face a mask, and opened the leathery tome he had carried from the fortress. Placing it on the floor, open, his lips began moving, no audible sounds emerging, and, gradually, a blackness began creeping from the open book to the pedestal, shrouding it in darkness. The speed of the necromancer’s soundless chanting increased, reaching a fever pitch, as the pedestal cracked in two. Through the crack, a totem in the shape of a forest rodent began to rise from the bog lands below. He continued until it reached nearly his height, and, his incantation finished, spit on the twisted green mass, turning away as it began pumping foul air out of a hole near its top.

           It was only as the air turned a familiar shade of brown, and the Dwarf’s soldiers began coughing again, that the king began to realize the depths of his folly. He stumbled out of the keep, blood bubbling out of his mouth every labored breath, leaving the bulk of his soldiers there to die. Talos, seemingly immune, marched reassuringly behind him. He just had to get to the town, empty the remaining garrisons, and-

 And there, standing at the edge of the clearing, perhaps ten cubits away, was the necromancer, his dead stare unreadable. The Dwarf wasted no time, lifting a weakened arm to draw an arrow from his quiver, but the necromancer, unaffected by the vile contaminants drifting throughout the bog, was faster. His cloak fell aside as his hands came up, bathed in a green light, a ball of some gangrenous sludge sailing from them as if magically impelled. The smouldering mass impacted the Dwarf’s face a second later, sizzling as it hit his beard, and knocked him over; hideously, he felt it squirm within his mouth as if alive, as it forced its way down his throat. On his knees he sputtered, in a futile bid to clear his airway, and then slowly raised himself to his feet to look at his foe, his face a tortured mess of holes and hanging flesh. Impossibly, through black and failing lungs, the Dwarf screamed, a primal yell from a time before civilization, as if to kill from sound and fury alone. The necromancer’s expression never changed as the necrotic poison finally reached the Dwarf’s brain, and the king fell noiselessly to the wet swamp below, bright white skull already visible through the fast-decomposing flesh.

Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Match Narratives
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2015, 10:02:39 AM »
Nice! Haven't finished reading it yet, but so far so good. One thing I should point out is that the creatures summoned in mage wars aren't entirely real. They are likenesses constructed from a mage's magic. I've only completed one such narrative myself. There was an epic warlock vs wizard duel I played for thirty rounds once and tried to narrate but then my flash drive got stolen and all my writing on it was gone. It's a pain translating game logs into narratives, even more so if you didn't watch or play the match you are narrating. However I'm definitely interested in continuing writing match narratives in the future.
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Re: Match Narratives
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 01:22:29 AM »
This is wonderfully written. I really like that I can both vividly picture the scene described while also visualizing what the actual game looked like on the board. My friend and I like to make up joking narratives around our games, but this is a whole new level of awesome! Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Match Narratives
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 09:01:15 PM »
Hey wow, that's great!
I can take the fun out of anything. It's true; here, look at this spreadsheet.