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Author Topic: [Monthly Contest] May Miscreants  (Read 5633 times)
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« on: May 06, 2014, 12:23:20 AM »

May Miscreants


The Thieves’ Guild (or its murderous cousin, the Assassins’ Guild) is a staple of fantasy literature – often imagined as a ragtag group of skulking, scarified criminals hiding out in the decrepit sewer-system of some mouldering cityscape, or hiding out in the backroom of a shady inn in the bad part of town.  The concept has a well-earned pedigree, tracing its origins all the way back to the likes of Fritz Leiber and even Cervantes, but it’s been used so frequently that it’s become something of a cliché.

This contest is about re-inventing the Thieves’ (or Assassins’) Guild.  Pick a setting and describe a criminal organization within it.  You can utilize whatever tropes you desire, but aim to make the Guild distinctive and memorable – perhaps the guild-members practice a particularly unusual form of thievery, fulfill an unexpected social niche in the community, or possess an extraordinary headquarters of some sort.

The Rules

Entries should max out at about 500 words in order to keep them easily readable. Additionally these contests are focused on creative writing and imagination and so your entry should be rules system free. All entries should be one hundred percent fluff. You can add crunch if you want but the core of your entry should not be made up of it and it won't actually be considered part of the entry. All entries should be written inside of a CBG setting of your choice. As the entrant you are not required to follow the setting absolutely, merely to theme your entry such that you feel it would feel at home inside it.

Note that any entries made within this contest automatically give full rights of use to the author of the setting that the entry used (to be fair though I'd say it's a bit of an honor for a setting creator to like your entry enough to want it in their stuff). You of course still retain the rights associated with being the original creator of the entry.

Finally this contest is about giving you a chance to practice thinking on your feet and spontaneous creation in an unfamiliar situation. As such the core purpose of the contest is that you pick a setting that is not your own. Since this contest has a special prize (see below), you must pick a setting that isn't your own.

 Best of luck to all entrants, the contest runs until the end of the month and all entries should be posted in this thread. Remember to post which setting you're using at the top of your entry.

The Prize

This contest has a prize – we’re in sore need of new user titles, and the winner gets to pick the new list of 10 titles.

Deadline

The deadline is May 31st.

Entries should be posted in this thread.

(Note: I'm not going rogue, here, this has the blessing of the supreme testudine)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 12:31:29 AM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 06:36:12 PM »

The Baneful Bandits


Setting: The Realm of Camulus!

Lurking in the shadows, waiting to catch their victims unawares, the members of the Baneful Bandits skulk about ancient crypts and forgotten ruins in small, elite teams. They target the weak in order to plunder their personal treasures, be it gold, gems, or even just a nice sword or helmet, and they think little of brutally murdering entire peoples just to collect a few coins per ear. Roaming from village to village, they drift about the frontiers of humanity where the laws are less present and victims plentiful. There they make their living by preying on the unsuspecting.

While the true origins of this band of deadly drifters has been lost to the mists of time, the popular legend holds that they were once brigands who, after one too many close calls with authorities, struck on a novel way to predate on the weak. They would stop targeting civilized peoples and begin killing those society labeled "monsters" for their wealth. Very quickly, they found that not only could they easily slay families of goblins and gnolls in their sleep, but cities and towns would even pay them for such deeds! In time, their exploits attracted new members who, though greater manpower, were able to target more powerful or prominent threats to society.

Today, they are a widespread organization of loosely affiliated ruffians, bandits, burglars, and mercenaries who take on the dirty jobs respectable soldiers and guardsman shun. Hunting large, man-eating game to extinction, slaughtering entire tribes of orcs – women, children, and all –, etc. They are rumored to prey on the occasional hero, as well, but such opinions are rarely voiced. Most focus on the good they do society. They keep civilized lands civil (as much by staying out of them as by keeping monsters out), they tame borderlands, and they explore and conquer new lands on behalf of humanity.

Despite their contributions to civilization, they have always retained a darker aspect. While no one would dare voice such an idea, it is widely known that the Bandits use their talents to extort smaller towns for free room and board, help themselves to whatever women they fancy, and generally ignore the rule of law. Ostensibly, they suggest that they deserve such rights because they provide such a vital service, but between the lines, everyone understands that to deny the Bandits even once will mean they will stand aside while monsters destroy a village. No one suggests they are directly in league with the enemies of humanity, but they have been known to loudly leave a village shortly before it was overrun and destroyed.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 07:04:49 PM by Humabout » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2014, 10:48:27 PM »

Three Coins in the Fountain
Setting: Ghostman's Savage Age

Three Coins in the Fountain

Dwarf Cecropians are often mistaken for garden snakes, what with their shrunken and withered human elements and their inability to speak, thus they are outcasts from both human and Cecropian society. Dwarf Cecropians measure about a third the size of a typical Cecropian, roughly two feet long. They communicate by vibration and by forming runes with their shapes in sand, dirt, or dust, like chalk-created images. Although they have difficulties communicating their thoughts, they can hear as well as a normal Cecropian is able.

Mz'salfar, a full-sized Cecropian exile from their isolationist island, put his fellow exiles' size to good use, organizing his coil, his group of Cecropians, to infiltrate bathhouses through their waterways, pipes, and drains and rob or slay occupants with poisoned daggers. Together, he and his coil have raged through the isles, coming like a gale upon the land and biting it dry. They have left few survivors, which has resulted in his group to be considered mostly myth and rumor, and which has left their deeds to be presumed to have some larger purpose-- they are agents of the Gods, retribution by enemies, omens in action. Many a lay details their deeds, and many a bard weaves tales of their villainy. Bathers quake at the sight of a snake, and rumor of their presence has doomed many a bathhouse's custom.

The Coils are summoned, it is said, by placing three serrated coins in a fountain near the bathhouse to be targeted. This rumor is untrue. The Coil comes of its own desire, gathers its own intelligence. It acts for no agency but its own free will. This has not stopped copy-cats who wish to undermine rivals' thermae, to employ the tactic before sending in a contortionist wetback to effect their own vile deeds.

The name actually traces its history to the tattoo etched across Mz'salfar's chest- a fountain in which three jagged coins, bearing the twisted faces of his first three minions, are coiled around the base of a fountain, barely floating on the pool's surface.

Their most remembered hit actually was done on behalf of a human seeking revenge...a hit done when the Coils were desperate, and before Mz'salfar learned to not trust those who walk on two legs. Mz'salfar personally entered the thermae after his coil struck, and, when the carnage was finished, but one eunuch witness, less several other portions of his body, survived to warn about the snake-being with three eldritch coins emblazoned across his chest, a being who was let into the steamrooms through doors thought locked, to emerge and strike, stabbing and ripping amongst the smoke. In the aftermath, three Cecropians lay dead, and more than thirty humans... the three Cecropians whose faces were emblazoned on Mz'salfar's chest, and three images that burned in the mind of the surviving chief Archivist of the city, a man with a perfect memory. And although Mz'salfar's memory is not as perfect as the Eunuch's, he carries his past with him and along with it, his hate.

http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg75678.html#msg75678
http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/index.php?title=Cecropians
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 08:08:27 PM by Light Dragon » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2014, 11:08:15 AM »

The Black Orchestra
Setting: Steerpike's Cadaverous Earth

The Black Orchestra

Their calling card is a severed finger. Their night call, the soft snip of scissors. Their victims, no one recognizes. They are the Black Orchestra, and they deal in pieces.

Science, the evolution of species, must press on. The wings of the jatayi, the graceful dexterity of the lilix, the ingenuity of humans; no race quite manages to perfect every angle of their being, falling short in one way or another. Grafting is the way of the future - but there are so few willing donors in the Twilight Cities that an organization known colloquially as the Black Orchestra has taken it upon themselves to find unwilling victims with unusual gifts.

So named for the chorus of screams their operations evoke, the Black Orchestra was once a respectable organization of scientists and forward-thinkers looking to assist the various species to bring out the perfect adaptations through grafting. The crippled, the maimed, even the genetically impoverished were their clients, all of whom risked their lives in experimental operations to improve their livelihood in an attempt to make up for the features they so lacked. Most often, the clients did not survive the operations and their parts were reused in future experiments, but one such experiment (dubbed enigmatically “Emperor Seven”) who refused to be taken by death's sweet embrace allowed them to graft and regraft and internally modify until they created something unrecognizable, monstrous, horrifying… and unconditionally perfect. The beast known as Emperor Seven tore through the city, mindless with pain and rage, and vanished. Its body turned away steel and bullet, and it displayed such graceful rage, such perfect destruction that it transfixed the minds of the unnamed scientists - they had to try again and keep the mind intact this time. But from that point on their reputation was irrevocably tarnished, so they disappeared for a time, disbanding. The Black Orchestra is what remained of these eccentrics.

Throughout Macellaria, the Orchestra has subtly located what individuals contain the features they desire: the impeccably strong right arm of the human blacksmith, the unerring precision of a mantid pit fighter's scythe-arms, the unnerving quietness of a particular zerda thief. Though the Orchestra's numbers are small, in time they collect what they believe to be their dues, dragging the drugged clients back to their illicit chambers in the deep undercity and unceremoniously depositing them somewhere far away when they've exhausted their use of the client. In the end, their new clients will surely see what their pain has wrought, when the Orchestra unleashes the perfect specimen from its depths. For now, the Black Orchestra steals what parts it can get away with, and waits patiently for other opportunities to arise.
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2014, 08:02:41 AM »

A final entry perhaps.

Flayfire Jackals
Setting: Steerpike's The Cadaverous Earth

The Flayfire Jackals

They fall like Red Rain from hollow skies. Their wake transforms most into carcasses stripped of clothes, coin, and flesh: a buzzards’ pittance. The rest are not so lucky. Abandoned amidst the wastelands, they wander unmolested save for five ashen scars where once eyes, ears, and tongue adorned their faces. Some find shelter, blindly stumbling across pitying merchants, nomads, or caravanserais. Their respite, however, is brief. Within days, their flesh begins to smolder, then burn as strangely canine-jawed blisters consume both skin and sanity. Before madness or death overtakes them, a few manage to frantically scrawl or sign the source of their torment: The Jackals.

An enigmatic terror, the banditos known as the Flayfire Jackals stalk the Slaughterlands, preying upon flash-pan towns and unwary travelers. They strike under the veil of darkness, swift and unseen like nocturnal shadows. Their few witnesses speak of blood-furred zerda with hexed bolos and sinew-sewn lips. Their leader, they call the Harvester, Padre Opiliones: a hirsute, six-limbed gholmuz and erstwhile prodigy of Chaulaxna’s Torturer’s Guild who crawls across the sands in a scum-green sombrereo and sleeveless duster, clutching the gore-stained tools of a sawbones. Whilst the zerda subdue their marks and slay any who interfere, Padre Opiliones performs the Jackals’ trademark mortifications with a proficiency both monstrous and mesmerizing. They vanish then, hauling ill-gotten organs and lucre alike, their tracks swallowed by the gluttonous sands.

They return to the scute-burrows of their allied zerda –and its fell oubliette: the Well of Red Myrrh. True to its name, the Well contains an ancient myrrh tree, wounded with hell-runes that weep rivulets of crimson light. Bound to the bole are the bandits’ namesakes and gods-cum-slaves: the Jackals, a pair of monstrous, flensed coyotes with boiling blood. The Jackals are carrion-jinn, siblings and lovers, imprisoned during the Membrane Wars. The vulnerae, known as the Mirzas of Mirages and Echoes, can divine all that a living mortal has respectively seen and heard by devouring their eyes and ears. This ‘gift’ drives the Harvester to purloin organs and deliver them to the Fabler-in-Flames—the decrepit, but eldritchly puissant, jatayu elder—that guards the Well.

Saving the tongues for herself, the Fabler prepares the daeva’s macabre sacrament –and then siphons the secrets the jinn consume: a power she gained after sacrificing her left eye and ear to the Mirzas. The Fabler uses this lore to not only direct the Harvester’s raids, but to brief her other disciple: Sal Yszib, a Marainein-born huckster known as the Sower of Ash.

Sal blows through bordertowns like a vagrant tumbleweed, astride his wicker-wrought ostrich; dressed in silken sarapes, corduroy suits, and skink-banded bowlers; flashing smiles like flesh-blown whiskey bottles. He sells the Jackals’ lore for lucre and less tangible rewards, trading with rival merchants from Crepuscle and Skein, river-bandits from Gryss, Macellarian tomb-raiders, Marainein inquisitors, and more. Sometimes, he sells the untarnished truth; other times, he twists it to suit the Jackals’ purposes. One secret, however, Sal never shares: with each sacrifice, the Jackals grow, and soon their fetters will fail…
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 08:04:41 AM by Rose-of-Vellum » Logged

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