Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A to Z of Jarlsburg: the Antiquarian [UPDATED]

Some monsters become bogey men, things to scare children into obeying their elders.

Some threats become memorials, celebrations to remind the victims that the darkness was fought back.

But that's not the citizens of Jarlsburg deal with the Antiquarian.

The people of Jarlsburg simply prefer not to speak of it, hear of it,  or let alone want to remember it's reign of terror.

Fifteen years ago, the creature announced it's arrival on Mirren, the longest day of the year, by causing thirty-one infants to be stillborn.  But that wasn't enough death for one single day, since by the time the sun set four entire families...eighteen people were found murdered in their own homes.  The manner of their deaths too much for even the most hardened Watchmen.

And each day for nearly nine long weeks the Watch would be called to a new atrocity, as another family would fall to the monster.

It took a shroud of necromancers nearly three weeks...twenty-one families...seventy-two murders before even a clue could be discovered.

That solitary clue was a name, the Antiquarian, a malign and brutal being from the very fringes of folk lore.

You see, very little was known about the monster, because it was believed to speak it's name would be to draw it's attention.

It was almost another four weeks...twenty-eight more families...one-hundred and forty more victims before a motive could be speculated.

And what a motive it proved to be.  You see, it was believed that the Antiquarian was merely on the hunt for an old, but not ancient and hopelessly mundane vase to add to its most dire collection of antiques.

And it was not only willing, but thrilled to murder everyone in Jarlsburg to find it.

That's what all of this death, fear, and heart break was about, finding an antique vase for this monster's collection.

A sentinel of diviners were able to agree on three probable targets where the fiend would most likely strike next and one person, a freshly promoted Inquisitor, was the only person willing to face the Antiquarian in an effort to stop it's killing spree.

However, that first day, the diviners predictions were off, and another family...another six victims were murdered on the Antiquarian's quest for it's vase.

Thankfully, their next vision was more accurate, and the lone Inquisitor came face to face with the Antiquarian.

Now I'd like to tell you that the Inquisitor used cunning and bravery and swordplay to triumph over this malicious being who had terrorized a whole city for a good portion of the summer months, but I'd be lying to you.

The Antiquarian was shown the three vases that were in the Investigators' possession and the monster pointed at it's prize, which was shakily handed over.   If there was any more to the exchange the young officer has never revealed what occurred.

The Antiquarian had left Jarlsburg with it's collection's newest piece that had cost the city the princely sum of two-hundered and sixty-seven souls.

Was their more to the story?  No one wanted to speculate, let alone investigate, citizens and city officials were content to try and put their lives together and close this chapter of their collective history.

The only other facts we know is that when the Inquistor left the home where the exchanged took place with the Antiquarian, he was now wearing a mask that would become his trademark.  No one knows what he's hiding and many wonder where the mask originated, but the Antiquarian is the last being to see  Lot's face.


This section is the behind the curtain section, where I share tidbits about how this idea came about in the DnD and Pathfinder games that were set in Jarlsburg.

The Antiquarian took form in a post on rumors of Jarlsburg (Rumor #8) and then slowly began to become intertwined in the back stories of High Inquisitor Lot and the Lunar Council (who were created for two players who were running Silvercloaks (witchunters) instead of Ironcloaks (night watch).  If the game hadn't gone on hiatus, the game would have started to move closer to at least exploring how the Antiquarian's reign shaped Lot and the Lunar Council.

We'll get around to that one day.

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